February 28, 2014

$350 million in punitive damages against Arkansas evangelical church

The Associated Press is reporting that a judge in Miller County Arkansas has awarded $525 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church.  The church is an arm of Alamo Ministries, founded by evangelical preacher Tony Alamo.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seven women who alleged they were physically and sexually abused by Alamo starting when they were as young as nine years old. 

The article doesn't specify how much of the $525 was for punitive damages, but it indicates that the ratio of punitive damages was 2 to 1, which suggests the punitive damages award must be about $350 million.

Alamo himself was already hit with a $60 million punitive damages award for abusing young boys.  The Eighth Circuit reduced that award to $24 million.

In a separate criminal proceeding, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison